The first stop for education data is often the NCES, the federal government’s center for “collecting and analyzing data related to education in the U.S. and other nations.” The NCES website has data from a wide variety of surveys and studies, including major longitudinal studies and cross-sectional surveys--listed at right--as well as international datasets.
The NCES also provides tools for accessing and using its data:
Data Lab has tools for researchers to query and run regressions on multiple datasets.
College Navigator collects detailed information about American colleges and universities.
Common Core of Data: America’s Public Schools is a comprehensive database of basic information on public elementary and secondary schools.
Education Demographic and Geographic Estimates (EDGE) has spatial data on U.S. education. It “uses data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey to create custom indicators of social, economic, and housing conditions for school-age children and their parents.”
ACS-ED Maps allows the user to view demographic, economic, social, and housing data by school district.
School and District Navigator allows for easy lookup of information about school districts or schools.
IPEDS is a key source for data on postsecondary institutions and students.
In addition to these resources, NCES has several yearly publications that usefully compile education statistics.The Condition of Education gives a broad but comprehensive overview of American education, with a focus on educational trends. Digest of Education Statistics provides a detailed compilation of education stats collected every year, taken mostly from NCES studies. Both are available online for the past 30 years or so. (Earlier volumes can be found in print in the Government Documents section of Peabody Library.) Other annual reports along these lines (some of which are no longer active) are to be found here.
Those seeking education data from the 1970s and 1980s in particular are encouraged to look through the Government Documents area in Peabody Library. Browsing through library stacks can be very enjoyable.
Data Planet pulls education data from the National Center for Education Statistics and allows the user to visualize it in attractive charts and graphs. On the left-hand column of the page, select “Subject,” then “Education” to search on a variety of topics.
Statistical database that includes data, stats, and infographics of government data from around the world. Use keyword searching to bring up useful reports and graphs.
Statistical Abstract of the United States
An enormous data trove going back to the mid-19th century, the Statistical Abstract is particularly good for older data, as it allows the user to download large tables of print data into Excel spreadsheets. Make sure to select “All editions” from the drop-down menu if you wish to search for data in multiple years.
Longitudinal studies: Early Childhood Longitudinal Study; National Longitudinal Study of the High School Class of 1972, High School and Beyond, National Educational Longitudinal Study of 1988, Education Longitudinal Study of 2002, and High School Longitudinal Study of 2009; Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study and Baccalaureate and Beyond Longitudinal Study; National Postsecondary Student Aid Study; Middle Grades Longitudinal Study of 2017-18; Beginning Teacher Longitudinal Study.
Cross-sectional surveys: Schools and Staffing Survey / Teacher Follow-up Survey / Principal Follow-up Survey; National Teacher and Principal Survey; Private School Universe Survey; National Household Education Survey; School Survey on Crime on Safety; Fast Response Survey System / Postsecondary Education Quick Information System; Career and Technical Education Statistics
OECD Education Statistics. This page includes Education at a Glance, an annual publication of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which “looks at who participates in education, what is spent on it, how education systems operate and the results achieved.”
Eurydice has reports and statistics on European education.
Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Learning. Much data on individual institutions.
Higher Education Research Institute publications, including "American Freshman: National Norms" (and many others)
Monitoring the Future is “an ongoing study of the behaviors, attitudes, and values of American secondary school students,” with a focus on drug abuse. The study surveys about 50,000 8th, 10th, and 12th grade students yearly. Data is available from 1975 here. Yearly reports not available online can be found in Central Library.
National Science Foundation's surveys, many of which concern higher education.
Tennessee Statistical Abstract. Available in print from 1969 to 2003.